the other night, while in the throes of an unsettled restlessness, i found myself plumbing the depths of my email sentbox, traveling backwards to a period of my life that was vastly different but simultaneously all too familiar. it was only four years ago that life was so relatively simple, with one of the focuses of my attention being to alert people who had bought some junk i was trying to get rid of on ebay. life was comfortable back then, if not a little bit boring. and then i reached the moment when everything went to shit--when i sailed out on a journey away from the most stable and supportive relationship i've ever been in. those old emails made fresh a surge of memories full of pain, uncertainty, hope, fear. i was leaving what wasn't menacingly wrong to try to find something that was unequivocally right, all the while unsure that what i was looking for actually existed.
four years later and i'm still at sea. there have been towns in which i have stopped along the way, but i always end up here, in the same place. there's places that i've quietly slipped away from in the middle of the night; places that i've not been invited to stay; and places where i've been ungraciously left behind. it's all the same, really. without any maps to guide, i'm left to find my way by trial and error, knowing only the destination i seek, and sometimes the tribulations threaten to swallow me up completely. but it's a journey that i know is worth making, to find that star that's high and far in some other sky, and sometimes i know that all i can do is just sing, la la, la la la la, la la la la la la la la la la la...
for me, it was leaving a good relationship to find a great relationship. for will sheff and jonathan meiberg, it was jonathan leaving okkervil river to focus on shearwater. it's leaving anything in life that is not inherently bad, if not just simply good, to find that little piece that just somehow feels missing. whatever it is for you, will and jonathan have written a song that just so perfectly encompasses the journey and all of its uncertainty, fear, and hope. it's "lost coastlines", and despite the quality of the music i have loved so far this year (frightened rabbit, bon iver, sigur ros), i will be surprised if at the end of the year it is not my favorite song of 2008.
okkervil river : "lost coastlines"
from the lp the stand ins (jagjaguwar, 2008)
packed and all eyes turned in, no one to see on the quay
no one waving for me, just the shoreline receding
ticket in my hand and thinking wish i didn't hand it in
cause who said sailing is fine?
leaving behind all the faces that i might replace if i tried on that long ride
looking deep inside but i don’t want to look so deep inside yet
sit down, sit down on the prow to wave bye
there might not be another stop further on the line
look out, look out at each town that glides by
and there's another crowd to drown in crying eyes
and see how that light you loved now just won’t shine
there might just be another star, that’s high and far in some other sky
we sing, is that marionette real enough yet to step off of that set
to decide what her dance might be doing
ruining the play to, in the ensuing melee, escape
we packed up all of our bags, the ship's deck now sags from the weight of our tracks
as we pace beneath flags black and battered
rattling our swords in service of some faded, foreign lord
we sail out on orders from him but we find
that the maps he sent to us don't mention lost coastlines
where nothing we've actually seen has been mapped or outlined
and we don't recognize the names upon these signs
and every night finds us rocking and rolling on waves wild and white
well we have lost our way, nobody’s gonna say it outright
just go la la, la la la la, la la la la la la la la la la...